Rescuers searching the wreckage of the airliner carrying Hammarskjöld. Photo: Scanpix
Plane crash that killed Dag Hammarskjöld and 15 others

"The final word has not been spoken"

4:42 min

Dag Hammarskjöld, the Swedish Secretary General of the United Nations, died in a mysterious plane crash in the British colony Northern Rhodesia in 1961.

New information could yet come to light from a private investigation by international jurists that is now being launched. Radio Sweden spoke to Henning Melber, the head of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in Uppsala. Separate from that work, he's also part of the committee that has ordered the new inquiry.

"Ever since the crash took place, it has never come to a final conclusion. All the previous investigations are inconclusive. None of them present convincing evidence for one version or another," Melber told.

Three official investigations into the crash were inconclusive and unable to rule out any scenario. Reports of explosions on the plane have circulated, and of bullet fire from another aircraft or technical failures onboard.

"All of the previous investigations have ignored some parts of the evidence – that we can prove," Melber said.

Last year, a book called Who Killed Hammarskjöld? by the British academic Susan Williams said the plane was brought down and that the incident may have been covered up by colonial authorities in Northern Rhodesia, where the crash took place.

"I honestly hope that whatever the outcome of the investigation will be, it contributes to bringing the case to an end."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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